Armenian Prayer Beads

An old man in prayerful contemplation at Etchmiadzin Cathedral, in Armenia.

Although not seen in this image, Armenian beads have a ‘Khatchkar’ Cross.

Fort de Douaumont, Verdun

Fort de Douaumont - Verdun

The Battle of Verdun was the longest single battle of World War One.

Fort de Douaumont was the largest and highest fort on the ring of 19 large defensive forts protecting the city of Verdun but still couldn’t be adequately defended against the German guns.

The Germans captured Fort Douaumont on 25th February, 1916 without a contest.

The Colonial Infantry Troops of Morocco eventually recaptured the fort on 24th October, 1916.

There are some pleasant walks around the old concrete bunkers and tourists can visit inside the fort.

Montebello – Bellinzona, Switzerland

Montebello - Bellinzona, Switzerland

Bellinzona is home to three of the best-preserved medieval castles in Switzerland (Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro); UNESCO World Heritage Sites since the year 2000.

The Ramparts of Bellinzona connect Castelgrande to Castello di Montebello.

I was lucky with the early March weather when I climbed up on to the ramparts, just as the golden glow of the setting sun painted a beautiful picture for the handful of photographers gathered to capture the image; while a young couple gazed lovingly the other way.

The Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts make a visit to the Italian canton of Ticino’s capital one of the highlights on The Grand Tour of Switzerland; a city that many tourists on their way to the towns of Locarno and Ascona, on the shores of Lago Maggiore, tend to overlook.

Modena, Italy

Modena, Italy

While it’s the Cathedral (Duomo), Torre Civica and Piazza Grande that interest UNESCO a visit to Modena wouldn’t be complete without purchasing some Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale and other regional products.

Modena is located on the south side of the Po Valley, in the Province of Modena and the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

Tourists in Budapest

Tourists in Budapest

Technology has changed the way we do things as young tourists to Europe’s capital cities no longer admire the sights but flip out an iPad to frame a quick selfie of themselves and share it online almost instantly; most likely with GPS information automatically geotagged to the image.

These two girls were enjoying themselves up on Budpaest’s Fisherman’s Bastian, but I doubt the Danube made it into the frame.

Peter and Paul Cathedral

Peter and Paul Cathedral

Commissioned by Peter the Great, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul is located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Built on Zayachy Island, between 1712 and 1733, the cathedral’s bell tower is the world’s tallest Orthodox bell tower. It also acts as a lightning rod protecting the cathedral.

The cathedral houses the remains of most of the Russian emperors and empresses from Peter the Great to Nicholas II; including Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia for 34 years.

The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1991.

Hermitage Staircase

Hermitage Staircase

One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, the State Hermitage in Saint Petersburg was founded by Catherine the Great, in 1764, and has been open to the public since 1852.

The Jordan Staircase of the Winter Palace leads up to the exhibition rooms.

Although badly damaged by fire in 1837, the original plans from architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli were used for the reconstruction of this grand state entrance.

I waited for the small child to move up the marble stairs to help illustrate the grand scale of the elaborate detail before our eyes.